Characterization and change in Sembene ousmane's God's bit of wood
Mwihia, Margaret Njoki
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This study is an evaluation of the characters in Sembene Ousmane's God's Bits of wood, as they struggle for change. In the evaluation, a thorough analysis of the behavior of characters as they perform their roles has been done. These characters are divided into two classes and an exploration into their relationships in a capitalist setup is done with regards to change. This includes how they themselves are changed by this class struggle and to what extent they effect change in their society. This change is in the levels of their economic, social and cultural status. Sembene's characters are evaluated in their two classes namely the capitalist and the workers as they move towards change. Sembene's characters comprise of society in total. Each character is a representation of real human beings in a capitalist setup and hence the analysis deals with them both individually and communally. This study is facilitated by the Marxist theory whose main interest is in the struggle which is evident in any capitalist society where two classes are always in opposition due to their economic differences. In dealing with characters, content and form are inseparable and so this study has borrowed a little from Marshall (1962) and Fosters (1927) on characterization to enhance the analysis. The working class are African men employed by the railway management and are oppressed by their employers socially and economically and this is the main cause of the struggle and the revolution which follows. Sembene's characters also include women and children who get involved in the strike indirectly and play a great role in changing the whole society. Sembene's setting is in Senegal and the characters revolve around a historical strike by the railway workers in demand for better wages and working conditions. This study has been done through extensive research in the Library and the Internet specifically on Sembene's novel God's Bits of Wood and various critics of the same basing on Marxist approach. A number of Marxist writers have also been used.